Break-ups are hard. You know how it goes – things turn sour, you go your separate ways, work through your emotions, and brace for the possibility that you might one day bump into your former flame in the future. For Thor and Jane Foster, it’s even more complicated. Because while Natalie Portman’s former love interest is back in Taika Waititi’s Ragnarok sequel Thor: Love And Thundera lot has changed since we last saw her in 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. (OK, technically the back of her head popped up in Endgame.) When she returns, she’ll do so not just as a renowned astrophysicist, but as The Mighty Thor – a woman worthy enough to wield Mjolnir.
As you’d expect, it won’t be an easy change for Chris Hemsworth’s Thor to get his head around. “It’s been about eight years,” Waititi tells Empire. “She’s had a whole other life, and then the love of your life comes back on the scene, and is now dressed like you. It’s a real mindfuck for Thor.”
While the exact circumstances around Foster’s return in the MCU remain under wraps, the notion of her wielding Thor’s hammer was first explored in Jason Aaron’s acclaimed comics run The Mighty Thor back in 2015. “I didn’t know we were going to use the storyline of the Mighty Thor character until we started working out the actual story,” says Waititi of love and thunder. “I was writing and it was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be kind of cool to bring Jane back into the storyline?’” In doing so, the director didn’t want to tread familiar ground. “You don’t want Natalie coming back and playing that same character who’s walking around with science equipment. You know, while Thor’s flying around, she’s left on Earth, tapping her foot going, ‘When’s he going to be back?’ That’s boring. You want her to be part of the adventure.”
And since this is a Waititi joint, you can expect his trademark offbeat humor to course through Jane just like her new-found lightning powers. It was a challenge Portman was more than ready for. “Natalie’s really funny in real life,” says Waititi. “She’s kind of goofy and has got a great sense of humor, and I don’t think that was exploited enough in the first films.” Bring the thunder.
Read Empire‘s full Taika Waititi interview – talking Thor: Love And Thunderthe return of Jane Foster, and making an all-out MCU rom-com – in the Summer Preview issue, on sale Thursday 12 May, and available to pre-order online here. Thor: Love And Thunder comes to UK cinemas from 8 July.